Hinde’s babbler (Turdoides hindei)

Hinde's babbler perched on stem
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Hinde’s babbler fact file

Hinde’s babbler description

GenusTurdoides (1)

Hinde’s babbler is a thrush-like bird that occurs in several colour forms. The body feathers are mainly dark grey-brown, edged with variable amounts of white, giving many individuals a ‘frosted’ appearance. Pale flecks and blotches are usually present, particularly on the head, neck, breast and back. In some birds, these markings tend to coalesce, forming irregular and sometimes asymmetric patches. Other, darker individuals have much less white on the head and breast and a rust coloured underside (2). The eyes of adults are orange-red but those of fledglings are grey or brown (3). Almost always seen in groups, it produces a loud, chattering call, but is often silent for long periods (2).

Cratérope pie d'Hinde.
Length: 23 cm (2)

Hinde’s babbler biology

Hinde’s babbler has been seen breeding in February, April and from August to October (3). This species is a co-operative group breeder; each group is thought likely to contain a single breeding pair, assisted by non-breeding relatives and other individuals (4) (3). Larger groups of adults appear to produce second broods more often than small groups; they also tend to contain more offspring (3).


Hinde’s babbler range

Endemic to central Kenya, where it is found mainly to the south of Mount Kenya and in the foothills of the Aberdares (4) (5). Small numbers have also been found in two protected areas: Meru National Park and Mwea National Reserve (5). It has a fragmented range; from 1990 to 2001 it was known from just seven sites, which appear to form three discrete blocks, supporting 78%, 11% and 10 % of the total population, respectively. The apparent isolation of these populations may increase the species’ vulnerability to local extinction (5). The global population of this bird has recently been estimated at between 1,500-5,600 birds, but the true figure is probably closer to the lower estimate (5).


Hinde’s babbler habitat

This species is found in association with scrub in semi-arid areas, and in moist, fertile land largely cleared for agriculture, but retaining some thicket cover. In both situations the Hinde's babbler is normally found in close proximity to streams and rivers (6) (3).


Hinde’s babbler status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Hinde’s babbler threats

The threats facing this species include the widespread clearance of thickets due to the increasing human population in the area and the resulting increase in demand for agricultural land. Remaining thickets are becoming more isolated. Hunting for food and disturbance during the breeding season may also have an impact in some areas (4).


Hinde’s babbler conservation

Hinde’s babbler is classified as globally vulnerable (1). Only 8% of the known population of this babbler occurs inside legally protected areas at present (5). Surveys have been carried out to assess the range and status of this species in detail (4) (5). It is also essential that thicket areas are maintained and a public awareness programme is set up to inform people in the area of the importance of thickets for this declining species (4) (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For more information see:

BirdLife International 2003 Birdlife’s online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation Version 2.0. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Available at:



Information supplied and authenticated by Dr Philip Shaw of Scottish Natural Heritage




A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.


  1. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2003 (March, 2004)
  2. BirdLife International 2003 Birdlife’s online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation Version 2.0. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (March, 2004)
  3. Shaw, P. and Musina, J. (2003) Correlates of abundance and breeding success in the globally threatened Hinde’s babbler (Turdoides hindei) and its congener, northern pied babbler (T. hypoleucus). Biological Conservation, 114: 281 - 288.
  4. Njoroge, P. and Bennun, L. (2000) Status and conservation of Hinde’s Babbler Turdoides hindei, a threatened species in an agricultural landscape. Ostrich, 71(1): 69 - 72.
  5. Shaw, P., Musina, J. and Gichuki, P. (2003) Estimating change in the geographical range size of Hinde’s babbler Turdoides hindei. Bird Conservation International, 13: 1 - 12.
  6. Njoroge, P., Bennun, L.A. and Lens, L. (1998) Habitat use by the globally endangered Hinde’s Babbler Turdoides hindei and its sympatric relative, the Northern Pied Babbler T. hypoleucus. Bird Conservation International, 8: 59 - 65.

Image credit

Hinde's babbler perched on stem  
Hinde's babbler perched on stem

© Patrick L'Hoir / www.bird-picture.eu

Patrick L'Hoir


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